Mary Grace has taught first grade for 8 years and has a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education and is licensed in ESL.
What Are Flamingos?
You're at the zoo with your family and you see a big group of flamingos in the bird habitat. They are so funny looking with their pink feathers and almost all standing on one leg! Have you ever wondered why flamingos are pink or why they live in water? Let's explore these quirky animals.
Flamingos are birds. They have bright pink feathers and long, skinny legs. Flamingos are very lightweight--they typically weigh between 4 and 8 pounds, which is about as much as a human baby! As we mentioned, they're often seen standing on one leg. In fact, they sometimes do this for hours at a time, even when it's very windy, and scientists aren't quite sure why they do it.
Where Do Flamingos Live?
In the wild, flamingos live in places with warm weather, and they can usually be found near lakes and rivers. Flamingos like to live together in groups called colonies, and staying with other flamingos helps keep them safe. They do lots of their hunting and eating with their heads in the mud, so the other flamingos keep watch and protect the flamingo with its head down!
What Do Flamingos Eat?
Flamingos are omnivores. This means that they eat both plants and animals. They eat lots of shrimp, and the pink color of the shrimp turns their feathers pink! If flamingos live in zoos or somewhere that they are fed by people, they don't turn pink unless people feed them shrimp!
These birds also like to eat algae, plankton, and insects. When a flamingo sees food that it wants to eat, it put its head under the water, twists its neck so its head is upside down, and uses its beak to scoop up the food.
How Do Flamingos Grow?
Parent flamingos build nests to keep their eggs safe. The nests look like big piles of mud and can be found next to lakes and rivers. Flamingos lay just one egg at a time and the parents take turns taking care of the egg. Baby flamingos are called chicks.
Flamingos are not pink when they are born! Chicks are born gray and start turning pink when they are about 2 years old after they start to eat more shrimp. The chicks leave the nest after about five days to start playing with other chicks. Flamingos live a long time--usually 20 to 30 years, but some flamingos can be as old as 50!
Fun Facts About Flamingos
- Even though you usually see them standing on one leg, flamingos can fly and are also very good swimmers!
- Flamingos use their bills, or beaks, to suck up mud. They do this to find little bits of food in the mud!
- People like to decorate with fake flamingos! You can often see pink flamingo sculptures in people's yards!
Flamingos live together near lakes and rivers in groups called colonies. They are omnivores, which means that they eat both plants and animals. Flamingos lay one egg at a time, and the egg hatches into a gray chick that lives about 20-30 years.
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